It’s that time again! Ready to challenge your grocery list routine and try your hand at a simple staple at home?
Croutons and breadcrumbs are not only easy to make yourself and great to have around, but making them is also a nifty way to use up bread butts and slices or loaves that have gone a little to crunchy a little too quick.
The process is quick and easy. It goes a little something like this:
Step 1: Cut.
If you’re making croutons, you’ll want to remove crusts and cut your bread up into cubes of your desired size. If your bread is too hard to cut, you’re better off using it for breadcrumbs. Try breaking it into a few pieces with a chef’s knife or cleaver and a little elbow grease.
Step 2: Season.
If you’re going for a salad crouton that holds its own flavor-wise, brush your bread cubes with a light coat of melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings of choice. Garlic powder, garlic salt, lemon pepper, basil, oregano, and other Italian seasonings are the standard. You are of course encouraged to get creative. Skip this step if you’re going for a simple base for an otherwise seasoned dish.
Step 3: Toast.
Toast your bread cubes or pieces in a 350˚F oven until lightly browned and toasty, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If you’re making croutons, you’re done! Be sure to store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use. If you live in a particularly hot or humid climate, freezing them will keep them from losing their crunch.
Step 4: Crumb.
If breadcrumbs are your goal, you’ve got one more step. Place toasted bread pieces in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, and pulse to break them up into small crumbs. Continue until you reach your desired coarseness; you may have to pour out most of your crumbs and return any stubborn large pieces back to the bowl to get them chopped up. You may also add seasonings during this step, or wait to stir them into your breadcrumbs before you use them.